Says 114 schools getting iPads, MacBooks, Apple TVs
Apple has launched a minisite promoting the company's involvement in the US federal government's ConnectED initiative. The program is concerned with getting better Internet access and computing equipment to underfunded schools, and Apple has pledged some $100 million. Newly revealed in the minisite is that Apple's grants have reached 114 schools in 29 states, and that 92 percent of the students at those schools "are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage."
Effort still in earliest stages
For Apple, getting Apple Pay working in China is a major priority, CEO Tim Cook tells China's state-run Xinhua news agency. "China is a really key market for us," he says. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list." He adds, however, that the company still has to learn the steps needed to bring Apple Pay to China, and has yet to meet with local banks, merchants, and carriers.
Factory will require government investment
Apple's chief assembly partner, Foxconn, is hoping to gain orders for iPhone displays by building a new factory in Zhengzhou, China, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The company is allegedly in talks with Zhengzhou's government about getting financial help for the factory, which could cost up to 35 billion yuan, or about $5.7 billion. One of the topics under discussion is how much money local government would have to invest in the project.
Concerns more directly related to HealthKit
Connecticut's Attorney General, George Jepsen, has issued a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, asking the company to explain how the Apple Watch will collect and store data. Jepsen asks, for instance, "whether Apple will allow consumers to store personal and health information on Apple Watch itself and/or on its servers, and if so, how information will be safeguarded," and "if and how Apple will review application privacy policies to ensure that users' health information is safeguarded." Other concerns include consent, the specific types of data the watch and its apps will collect, and guideline enforcement.
Apple never applied to be on energy-saving list, all parties say
The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center -- as well as the Finance Ministry, and Apple itself -- have all denied a recent Bloomberg report claiming that Apple had been deliberately excluded from procurement lists for security reasons, according to Reuters. It had been said that Chinese government agencies were newly banned from buying devices like iPads and MacBooks. All three parties involved now say, however, that Apple never applied to be on the list in question to begin with.
Cites security concerns
[Updated with Chinese government denial] The Chinese government has excluded 10 Apple products from its latest procurement list dictating which products can be bought using public funds, according to officials cited by Bloomberg. Among the banned products are all variations of the MacBook and the iPad, but not the iPhone or other Mac models. The products were on a June version of the list, but are said to have been left out as of July due to security worries, though another report quotes government officials as denying this.
Companies will likely be hesitant to comply
The Russian government has proposed that two Western companies, Apple and SAP, grant access to their source code so it can determine whether or not products are tools for spying on state organizations and/or the public, Reuters reports. Russia's communications minister, Nikolai Nikiforov, is said to have made the request when he met last week with Apple's local general manager, Peter Nielsen, and SAP's local managing director, Vyacheslav Orekhov. In an official Communications Ministry statement, Nikiforov comments that "Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware."
Meant to insure small suppliers get paid on-time
A variety of US businesses including Apple, IBM, and Coca-Cola have agreed to sign on to an Obama administration initiative dubbed SupplierPay. The program is a private-sector mirror of QuickPay, a federal effort to ensure that smaller contractors are paid within 15 days of issuing an invoice. Under SupplierPay, private firms are expected to pay smaller parts suppliers quickly.
Claims data could be used to glean state secrets
State-run China Central Television has called iOS 7's Frequent Locations function a "national security concern" in a noon broadcast, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report quoted researchers as saying that people with access to the underlying data could get a glimpse of the broader Chinese situation, or "even state secrets." Electronic security has become a sensitive topic for the Chinese government in the wake of leaks from Edward Snowden, revealing that the NSA is spying on Chinese leaders, and that American businesses have willingly or unwillingly provided the NSA with access to demanded data.
Money could be put towards transportation projects
Both Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate are considering going through with a possible tax "holiday" for repatriated corporate profits, Reuters reports. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has told reporters that the idea "enjoys a good deal of support" among Republicans; a spokesman for another party Senator, Rand Paul, says that Paul has been talking with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about legislation.
Asks for limits to government surveillance
Several US technology executives -- including Apple's Tim Cook, Google's Larry Page, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer -- have published an open letter as a part of the Reset the Net anti-surveillance campaign. The letter complains that the USA Freedom Act -- which recently passed through the House of Representatives -- still permits bulk collection of Internet metadata, despite promises by the White House and Congress to halt the practice. The executives are also asking for the flexibility to publish more detail about the quantity and types of government requests they get for customer information.
Opposition claims tech would create security problems
California's state Senate has narrowly rejected a bill that would've made "kill switch" anti-theft software mandatory on all new smartphones, reports say. A majority actually voted in favor, at a ratio of 19 to 17 with one abstaining, but the pro faction required a minimum of 21 votes. The bill was championed by Sen. Mark Leno, and San Francisco district attorney George Gascon, the latter of whom has campaigned heavily alongside New York attorney general Eric Schneidermann to get smartphone makers to implement better anti-theft measures.
Continues Apple's LGBT-friendly policies
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter earlier today in support of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. "The House should mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by passing ENDA," he wrote. If passed, the bill would make it illegal for companies to discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The bill has been trapped in the US political system since 1994, however, and a November 2013 editorial by Cook in the Wall Street Journal had little impact.
Rules obstacle to Apple Stores
In a bid to open official Apple Stores in the region, Apple is asking the Indian government to relax rules requiring companies to source 30 percent of their components from Indian firms, says the Business Standard. Apple management staff have reportedly met with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion officials for talks. The company's position is that iOS devices simply don't have enough hardware inside to be able to meet the 30 percent rule.
Europe asks for safeguards to prevent accidental purchases
Apple and Google will soon be meeting with the European Commission to talk about problems with in-app purchases, according to a press release from the political body. The two companies will be asked to provide measures to protect customers, primarily parents, from accidental in-app purchases. A number of game developers publishing to the iOS App Store or Google Play have been accused of marketing "free" games that lure and/or deceive kids into buying digital items and currency; Apple and Google have sometimes been blamed as lax about putting up barriers to those purchases.
Industry seeks to limit potential for injunctions
Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Google are among a group of 19 businesses and associations that have submitted a letter to the European Union, asking it to implement measures designed to fight patent trolls, Bloomberg reports. In particular, the companies are asking for limitations on product injunctions and/or court proceedings when the validity of a related patent is still in contention. Patent trolls are companies that make no products of their own, but instead generate income through licensing fees and/or lawsuits.
Federal measure would require both kill switch and remote wipe options
Four Democractic senators -- Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) -- have introduced a bill for a federal law that would require "kill switches" on cellular devices. The bill would also require a remote wipe option, something that is already available on most smartphones through Android Device Manager or iOS' Find My iPhone. iOS 7 already includes a form of kill switch in Activation Lock, which prevents people from re-activating a phone unless they can provide the right Apple ID. The proposed legislation is similar to a bill under consideration in California.
New solar and geothermal power projects underway
Both the city of Mesa and the state of Arizona acted aggressively to lure Apple and GT Advanced Technologies into building their sapphire plant in the Mesa area, according to a new Bloomberg report. The publication notes that since Arizona lost out on an Apple operations center that ended up in Austin, Texas, local government was eager to make concessions in order to attract the company's jobs and business. Apple is said to have received a $10 million grant from the state to support hiring and building improvements, as well a special designation for its land, slashing the company's property taxes by over 70 percent.
San Francisco hotbed of phone theft
Democratic State Senator Mark Leno of California has introduced a bill that would require any smartphone or tablet sold in the state to include some form of "kill switch" antitheft technology, says the New York Times. The bill is being sponsored by San Francisco district attorney George GascĂłn, who along with the attorney general for New York has been pressuring cellphone makers to add the technology for some time. Under the proposed law, any unprotected mobile device sold in California on or after January 1st 2015 would net the vendor a fine up to $2,500 per unit.
Apps, educational systems discussed
As a part of his tour of the United Arab Emirates, Apple CEO Tim Cook today met with Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi and other government officials in Dubai, says the Khaleej Times. The ensemble reportedly discussed developing next-generation educational apps, and the potential of creating an entirely new educational model that other nations might adopt as well. Al Gergawi is said to have lauded the potential of a public-private partnership with Apple.
Obama initiative valued at about $750 million
US President Barack Obama is today announcing commitments from several US corporations towards connecting more students to high-speed Internet, says the Associated Press. In all, about $750 million has been pledged; Apple is offering $100 million in iPads, computers, and other tools, while Verizon is providing the same amount in straight cash and in-kind contributions. AT&T and Sprint are offering free Internet access; Microsoft is promising copies of Windows at discounted rates, and 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office.
PM says Ireland is 'participating fully' in EU corporate tax debate
In his meeting with Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny on Friday, one of the topics Apple CEO Tim Cook ended up discussing was corporate taxes, says local newspaper The Journal. Kenny explains that he mentioned Ireland is "participating fully" in European Union discussions about its corporate tax rate. He notes that the country has a statutory rate of 12.5 percent that applies to all businesses; Apple is among a number of companies, though, that have been accused of exploiting loopholes to pay minimal taxes on international revenue.
Plans still nebulous
Apple is among of a number of US corporations that have agreed to change hiring practices to avoid discriminating against the long-term unemployed, says the New York Times. The pledge comes at the behest of President Obama, who is hosting a meeting of CEOs at the White House later today to promote his efforts. White House officials say that about 300 businesses have agreed to alter hiring policies, including 21 of the 50 biggest American corporations, and 47 out of the top 200.
Exact purpose of visit unknown
Apple CEO Tim Cook is meeting with Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny today after having addressed workers at the company's factory in Hollyhill, Cork, says local newspaper The Journal. Cook spoke to employees about the company's future plans. Kenny is said to be touring the factory before the meeting.
Apple threatened to move project elsewhere without foreign trade zone
Arizona's Gilbert Unified School District has voted unanimously to allow the extension of a foreign trade zone at a nearby airport to a proposed Apple sapphire plant, reports say. The decision clears the last of eight local regulatory hurdles for the purchase and conversion of a former First Solar complex. The overhauled facility will actually be operated by GT Advanced Technologies, but GT is expected to provide most of its sapphire to Apple, who will compensate for $578 million in capital expenditures over the course of five years.
Suggests Apple may be complying with PRISM
Apple's data on requests by law enforcement indicates that the company is relying on a practice known as a "warrant canary," ArsTechnica observes. The concept involves publishing a notice that a warrant hasn't been served, and simply omitting/pulling the notice if the opposite is true. This can be a way of getting around gag orders that prevent organizations from disclosing their compliance with government surveillance.
Rare political statement by Apple executive
In a Sunday editorial for the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked US senators to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a cloture vote scheduled to take place on Monday. ENDA is meant to prevent businesses from discriminating based on gender or sexual orientation. Although the Act has the backing of President Obama and 59 senators, it's one senator short of the 60 needed to defeat any Republican filibuster attempt. That makes it critical for ENDA's backers to swing any moderate Republicans, if possible.
Political divisions continue to impact app
Taiwan's foreign ministry has issued a complaint to Apple about the way the country is characterized in Maps, reports say. In both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Maps lists Taiwan as a province of China. "The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval and hope Apple will make the change," a ministry official states. While many Taiwanese consider themselves independent, the Chinese government considers the country a possession, which in the past has led to political conflict and threats of war. Apple has yet to respond on the matter.
School district has yet to meet order threshold for promised discount
The Los Angeles Unified School District is running well over budget in its plan to equip 47 schools with iPads, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program was originally budgeted for $50 million, but this was based on an early iPad pricing estimate putting each tablet at $650; in all $20.3 million was budgeted for iPads, the rest going to needed training and infrastructure. When the program was formally announced this summer iPad pricing had already crept up to $678, and budget disclosures now reveal that the District is actually paying about $770 per device, adding another $4 million to the program's cost.
Change expected to have little practical benefit for government budgets
The Irish government is considering the elimination of a tax loophole exploited by a number of foreign corporations, most notably Apple, reports say. Currently, Apple's Cork-based subsidiaries -- including Apple Operations International (AOI), Apple Operations Europe, Apple Sales International, and Apple Distribution International -- are "stateless" for Irish tax purposes, since they're managed and controlled from outside the country. This has allowed Apple's to dodge Ireland's 12.5 percent standard corporate tax rate, and pay less than 2 percent in taxes in the US. Between 2009 and 2011 Apple funneled billions of dollars through AOI without paying taxes to any government.
Small range of phones affected
Samsung did not receive a hoped-for Obama administration veto of an ITC import ban, according to an official statement by US Trade Representative Michael Froman. "After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow [the ban to take effect]," says Froman. Just a small number of older, generally outdated phones will be affected, since more recent devices have worked around the two Apple patents that form the basis for the ban. The patents involve aspects of multi-touch technology and a sensor for headphone jacks.
Lack of veto could instill worries about pro-US bias
The Obama administration has until midnight Eastern time tonight to overturn an impending International Trade Commission ban on some older Samsung devices, reports note. Earlier this year, the administration vetoed an ITC import ban on AT&T models of Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2. While the ban against Samsung would only affect a small number of outdated phones, that company and others have argued that failing to issue a veto could be a sign of economic protectionism, since Apple is US-based while Samsung is headquartered in South Korea. The administration has claimed that it opposes using patents to block competitors.
Final go-ahead dependent on City Council vote
Cupertino's planning commission has voted to approve Apple's future "spaceship" campus, officially known as Campus 2. The vote took place on Wednesday, following a Tuesday night "shared study session" with public participation. Final approval is only waiting for a vote by the Cupertino City Council, which is expected to take place October 15th.
Laws would only offer more precision in reporting gov't. requests
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo are among the companies that have signed a new Center for Democracy and Technology letter asking the US Congress to pass Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (D-CA) Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, and Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013. The bills were first introduced in August, and would let companies be more precise about when and how often they receive national security-related requests and hand data over to the government.
Change linked to loosened US sanctions on Iranian trade
Apple will start selling hardware to people planning to bring them to Iran, according to an official statement. The company tells the Wall Street Journal that the policy change is a result of a May 30th decision by the US Treasury Department, easing trade sanctions. "We’ve been told by the US government that most Apple products are covered by regulatory changes announced by the Treasury Department," a spokeswoman explains. "As a result, Apple is no longer banned from selling Macs and iOS devices to customers who plan to bring or send those products to Iran."
Fountain moved slightly to accommodate new steps
Apple has presented revised plans for its upcoming Union Square Apple Store to San Francisco city officials, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The plans were submitted Monday, and mayor Ed Lee says he is "happy" that Apple was able to work with city planners to keep a popular fountain by Ruth Asawa near its current location. Apple has also added things like a glass "notch" to a wall along Stockton Street, which would otherwise have been a featureless, 80-foot-long block of steel.
Asks for 'fair and reasonable' decision on possible ban of Samsung goods
The South Korean government has issued a statement expressing worries about the Obama administration veto of an ITC ban on some Apple products. The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy says that the decision could harm Samsung's patent rights, and that it will be paying close attention on Friday, when the ITC is expected to rule on a possible ban of some of Samsung's Galaxy devices. "We hope to see a fair and reasonable decision on the matter," the ministry states.
Position has some political support
The BSA -- a group representing technology companies like Oracle, Intel, and Microsoft -- has taken a position against banning products based on infringements of standards-essential patents, a Wall Street Journal article notes. The move appears to have been spurred by a possible ITC ban of some older AT&T-model iPhones and iPads. Samsung scored the ruling in a complaint against Apple.
Companies escape scrutiny via 'Safe Harbour' self-certification rules
The Irish Office of the Data Protection Commissioner says it won't investigate Apple and Facebook over their sharing personal data with the US' National Security Agency, according to New Europe. Both Apple and Facebook have their European headquarters in Ireland, and an Austrian student activist group -- europe-v-facebook -- asked the ODPC to look into claims that the NSA collects emails and other private information from the companies through its Prism spying initiative. The ODPC states that the companies are covered under "Safe Harbour," which allows US companies to self-certify themselves as compliant with European Union data laws as long as they agree to a set of principles intended to protect how personal data is used.
Possible sales ban wouldn't affect Verizon directly
Verizon's general counsel, Randal Milch, has published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal calling for the Obama administration to veto an International Trade Commission ban on some iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 sales. In June the ITC ruled that AT&T versions of the phones must be removed from sale by August 5th. Even though it wouldn't directly affect Verizon -- which has never sold the 3G or 3GS, and carries a different model of the 4 -- Milch claims that the ban would set a bad precedent.
Could restore lost tax revenue
Presenting at the ongoing G20 summit in Moscow, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has revealed a 40-page plan meant to undo tax avoidance schemes used by companies like Apple and Google. Multinational corporations will use strategies such as dumping patent rights into shell companies, or claiming interest deductions in one country without reporting taxable profits in another. The proposal would develop rules over the next two years to counter the schemes, and force companies to detail where they report their income.
Local laws allow companies to dodge normal tax rates
The Irish parliament has rejected a motion to allow a Subcommittee on Global Taxation to call representatives from corporations like Apple and Google to testify, according to reports. Pearse Doherty, a member of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform tried to get the motion passed earlier this week, but was denied. The Subcommittee is considering how foreign companies exploit Irish tax laws to avoid paying fair taxes in Ireland or elsewhere.
Fountain may stay
San Francisco's city planning department has called for changes to Apple's upcoming Union Square store in a preliminary project assessment, the San Francisco Chronicle says. Apple's current proposal was sharply criticized in May, mainly for issues like an 80-foot blank wall along Stockton Street, and the expected removal of a popular fountain sculpted by Ruth Asawa. The Chronicle's coverage drew attention from SF mayor Ed Lee, who said he would re-examine Apple's plans.
Instagram hosts photo gallery of celebrations
At least two major high-tech companies have issued statements supporting today's US Supreme Court decisions related to gay marriage, according to AllThingsD. "Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today," a message from an Apple spokesman reads. HP, meanwhile, is pointing to its history of supporting gay causes. "HP has more than 30 years of partnership with and participation in pride events, and works throughout the year to build and strengthen HP as an organization that values all employees, customers and communities," says Michael Thacker, the global communications chair for HP's Pride Employee Resource Group. "Our sponsorship at San Francisco Pride this year is a great example of how HP is committed to diversity and to creating a flexible, inclusive environment for everyone inside and outside of the company," Thacker's PR concludes.
Public to get chance to comment on issues like deforestation
The City of Cupertino is scheduled to host a public meeting Wednesday on the environmental impact of Apple's upcoming "spaceship" campus, officially known as Campus 2. The meeting starts at 6:30PM at the Cupertino Community Hall, and will offer the public an opportunity to raise questions or argue for or against changes. People who can't attend in person will be able to watch a live stream or submit comments online.
Advisory panel granted 2-month extension on device report for FAA
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is close to loosening the restrictions on electronics on planes, after a long period of deliberation, according to a report. Recommendations from a 28-member high-level advisory panel and industry officials in a draft report are apparently leading the FAA to lift the ban on the use of personal electronics at low altitudes.
Every student to have access to an iPad
Apple has won a $30 million contract to provide iPads to every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the LA Times reports. The Board of Education voted 6-0 in favor after hearing senior staff claim that the iPad was both the best and least expensive option for meeting the District's specifications. The tablet "received the highest scoring by the students and the teachers," according to Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino. The vote authorizes deployment at 47 campuses; since Apple is the only authorized vendor though, the District will end up paying hundreds of millions to Apple over the course of two years.
Touts benefits of Apple business, needed construction work
Apple has published a new report on the expected economic impact of its upcoming "spaceship" campus, known formally as Campus 2. The 64-page document (PDF) was assembled by Keyser Marston Associates for the City of Cupertino. It touts the benefits of Apple operations to the cities of Cupertino, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale, as well as Santa Clara County. "With net annual sales in excess of $156 billion, 16,000 employees currently based in the Cupertino area, and annual purchases from local Silicon Valley-based businesses of $4.6 billion, Apple is a cornerstone of the Silicon Valley economy and of the fiscal resources of the City of Cupertino," one part of the report reads.
Popular fountain would be removed under current Apple plans
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee says he will take a look at Apple's plans to build a new store at Union Square, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Earlier this week the paper aired criticisms about Apple's proposal, which would include the presence of a long, blank wall along Stockton Street, and the removal of a popular fountain. Prior to the Chronicle's story, city politicians had expressed their support for the store.
Says old tax laws at issue
A former New Hampshire Senator, John Sununu, is defending Apple's exploitation of tax laws in a Boston Globe editorial published on Monday. Sununu points out that none of Apple's actions have been illegal, only in line with what other multinational corporations would do, which is minimize taxes owed wherever possible. Instead, Sununu blames the billions companies like Apple are stashing offshore on Congress failing to change US tax laws.